Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

South Indian pictorial tradition has an effect on people's everyday lives

31.03.2009
Using a South Indian pictorial tradition as an example, the researcher Anna Laine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, examines different approaches to images and their capacity to influence people's lives and cultural conceptions.

The images, kolams, have an effect on people's states of mind and they mark the passage of life and the rhythm of the year.

The production of the images also accommodates individual experimentation, particularly on ceremonial occasions when the images are enlarged and more complex, says Anna Laine, who will be publicly defending her thesis in social anthropology at the University of Gothenburg

Every day before sunrise and sunset women in the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu draw geometric pictures, kolams, on the streets in front of the entrances to their homes. They thereby invite in deities in order to bring their family happiness and prosperity. The kolam makes the image of the home complete, both as a material object and as an inner cultural conception.

- Kolams are central to how people relate to and interact with each other and their environment. Drawing kolams is something that most girls learn at a young age. When they marry it becomes a part of their daily domestic chores. Through the continual recreation they are constructed as feminine beings, according to Anna Laine.

The creation of social relations

The thesis analyses kolam partly as a creative process partly as a material object. The aim is to contribute to extending anthropological approaches to and understanding of images, aesthetics and artistic practice. Images as co-participants in the creation of social relations is a central aspect in the thesis.

The images do not simply articulate or mirror cultural conditions, but also contribute to the way in which people relate to the world.

In line with other contemporary anthropologists who focus on visual aspects of culture (and conceptions within Hindu philosophy) the thesis emphasizes the close connection that exists between seeing and our other senses. Aesthetics are discussed as a multisensorial experience rooted in people's everyday lives. Different perceptions of kolam reveal that its aesthetic varies locally and also over time.

Processes of iconographic change take place through interplay between individuals and cultural norms. Despite certain formal aspects, the room for personal experimentation means that the execution of kolams can be defined as artistic representation.

One year's field work

The material for the thesis was collected during one year's field work in Tamilnadu, followed by shorter annual visits. The study has been conducted in both urban and rural areas and among people of different caste and class affiliations. Photography has been used as a method in addition to participant observation. A significant proportion of the presentation consists of photographic essays that relate thematically to the written chapters.

- This experimentation with the ambivalence of images, as with the relationship between image and text, comprises an important part of the thesis.

- Prior to my academic education I worked practically with images in various ways. It is partly this background that has led to my specific interest in kolams. What I have learnt practically from the experience of making kolams myself during the field work has been an important element in my understanding and in general I consider that a practice-based method represents an important supplement to those that are verbal and text-based, says Anna Laine.

Title of the thesis: In Conversation with the Kolam Practice: Auspiciousness and Artistic
Experiences among Women in Tamilnadu, South India.
E-link: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
Author of the thesis: Anna Laine, e-mail: anna.laine@globalstudies.gu.se
The thesis was successfully defended on 28 March at 10.15, Aulan, Annedalseminariet, Seminariegat.1A Gothenburg, Sweden.

Faculty opponent: Dr. Amanda Ravetz, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

BY: Lena Olson
lena.olson @samfak.gu.se
+46 (0)31 786 4841

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>